A 53-year-old soldier was early yesterday morning found dead in a barrack room at Camp Stephenson, Timehri with what police said were marks of violence to his head.
The dead man, Gordon Sayers, 53, lived at army Headquarters, Camp Ayanganna, Thomas Lands. Officials at Ayanganna said that most of the reservist soldier’s relatives live overseas. Stabroek News was unable to make contact with his relatives.
In a press release issued yesterday afternoon the police said that they are investigating the suspected murder of Sayers whose body was found about 1:30 am yesterday in a barrack room at Camp Stephenson, Timehri, with marks of violence to his head. The army would only say that Sayers was discovered dead in a barrack accommodation at Camp Stephenson yesterday morning. According to the army, initial investigations conducted by the GDF revealed that at approximately 1 am yesterday one of the security personnel at the base discovered the soldier lying on the floor of the barrack accommodation, with a wound at the top of his head. The army said that police have since been called in and are conducting their own investigations.
Questioned about the incident yesterday a senior army officer who spoke to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity said that no one has been arrested so far but those persons who were around at the time when Sayers was found dead have been interviewed by the police.
Stabroek News was told that Sayers who was stationed at Ayanganna was among a group of soldiers heading to Tacama, another army base located in the Berbice River. According to reports while on their way the men’s vehicle developed some mechanical problems and as such they were forced to lodge at Camp Stephenson, Timehri on Saturday night. Stabroek News was told that blood stains were found on the frame of the upper bunk of a bed in the barrack room in which Sayers was found dead. Investigators also recovered a bottle containing an alcoholic liquid at the scene.
Stabroek News was told that Sayers, who was hypertensive, had only recently visited the hospital.
Last year April, two soldiers were charged with the death of GDF Officer Cadet Amar Rajcumar who was at the time undergoing training at Camp Stephenson, Timehri. Christopher Harmon, 29, of 309 Parfait/Harmonie, West Bank Demerara and Kurt Trotman, 30, of 541 Section A, Block 10, South Sophia were charged with murdering the soldier. Reports were that Rajcumar who had joined the GDF a mere nine days prior to his death, collapsed after a training session. A post-mortem examination later found among other things that he died from a blow to the head.
A camp in a southern part of the country was also burnt down after a feud between two soldiers and there have been other cases where soldiers have died via suicide or suspicious circumstances.
Earlier this year an army training officer was dismissed after he allegedly abused recruits while they were undergoing training at Tacama. One of the recruits was a pregnant female. In a press statement two weeks after the recruits walked off the base the GDF said that investigation had confirmed instances of excessive punishment administered by over-enthusiastic training instructors.
Stating that it was committed to providing a secure and safe environment for high intensity training for recruits, Officer Cadets and members of the Force at Tacama and its other training facilities, the GDF stressed that such training will be conducted in consonance with established and time tested training guidelines.
It warned that instructors who are not in compliance with the training standards will continue to be condignly dealt with. Stabroek News was told that the recruits complained about being physically and verbally abused by their instructors. One of the recruits had said that he was beaten while the others said that they were slapped and suffered other forms of physical abuse. (Nigel Williams)